Music videos are still a creative and compelling part of the music industry. While music videos are no longer as prominent on television, streaming platforms and social media have proliferated them. This has allowed artists to become more creative and innovative with the way they explore video content for their music.
Taylor Swift, who has recently released her own version of her highly regarded album Red, found a unique way to launch her own revised music videos. One way the artist did this was by hiring female directors to create slightly more longform music videos that incorporated narrative. Swift’s hit, All Too Well, was created to be a short film in addition to the standardized music video, where actors Dylan O’ Brian and Sadie Sink took starring roles. However, the appointed queen of dynamic music videos has largely been Beyonce. Lemonade, Beyonce’s second visual album, has now become a cult classic due to its ingenuity, striking visuals, and immense popularity. This has largely proven that music videos are not dead, but are evolving in a good way.
Allocai, a widely popular alternative pop artist, has recently released his anticipated music for his single Bad for Me. The song itself has surpassed over 6.5 million listens on Spotify, making it the artist’s most listened to hit. Bad for Me is an electric combination of genres, and its raw honesty and authenticity has enthralled Allocai’s fans. The music video, however, succeeds in embodying the song’s vibrancy, and by breaking new ground with its visuals.
The History of Music Videos
The early history of music videos was largely documented on television on channels like MTV and VH1. For many music lovers in the 90s, these channels were the go-to spot, and really the only place, to watch music videos. However, by the 2000s, these channels began to shift away from showcasing new music, to creating reality based viewing. This stunted the growth of music videos, but, with the introduction of YouTube, fans were soon able to view their favorite artist’s videos online. This came with its own set of setbacks, as record labels were hesitant to accept this due to the unlikelihood of them profiting from this form of music video distribution. Luckily, YouTube, Vevo, and record labels, were able to come to a compromise where labels could still profit from their distribution on these platforms. In this time period, music videos were consistently some of the most watched content on the platform.
With the introduction of streaming platforms, YouTube as a platform for music videos began to somewhat decline. Audiences seemed to want more authentic content, and their watching habits began to change. However, this has not killed the music video market. What it has done is allowed artists to look for more meaningful ways to make their video content more impactful. One journal notes that, “The technological advances in content sharing have only furthered the concept of video in the music industry. Social networks such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook have harnessed the very essence of what MTV created for the music industry.” This statement is even more true now with TikTok as a prominent platform.
The Bad for Me Music Video
Bad for Me has a hypnotic and truly original sound. The artist,
Allocai, dedicated himself to merging and bending genres to create something both compelling, and intriguing. To do this, he incorporated elements from jazz, synth, and pop, to deliver a sound that was both authentic to the artist, and the messages he would like to convey. Now, the artist has released an accompanying music video that embodies and encapsulates the artist, the lyricality of the song, and its energetic sound.
Bad for Me’s music video opens in stark black and white. This is consistent with the branding and overall aesthetic of Allocai’s new album, Black Silver, from which the song comes from. The opening sequences depict partners, playfully interacting with each other, and embracing. However, the scene quickly divulges into a toxic and hostile interaction between the two. The black and white montage is disrupted by a scene of shocking blue, depicting the couple in s reverse position of hostility. The video frequently cuts between the black and white scenes, and scenes with strong, vibrant colors. The cuts are energetic and snappy. Similarly, the relationship between the couple traverses between affection and volatility.
The music video truly comes alive in a sequence where the artist, and a team of backup dancers, perform an energetic and hypnotic dance that hits with every beat of the song. Importantly, the continuity of the artist’s most recent aesthetic is evident across the video. The dancing sequence showcases the dancers dressed in black and silver garments as flashing lights drape them in color.
Interestingly, and most intriguingly, the video then transcends to animation. The style of this animation is rough and jarring, where it almost appears as sketches. However, in a consistent way, the animation relies on a strong sense of movement – continuing with the evocative and energetic tone of both the song and the video. The animated dueling scene is perhaps the most dynamic part of the video. The characters face off against one another as the camera moves around them in a circular motion. Much like the tone of the black and white scenes, this sequence showcases the pair moving in and out of toxicity and love; ending with the one partner reaching out to save the other.
The conclusion of the video depicts Allocai staring into a mirror. His face is confrontational, but also somewhat elusive. It is not entirely obvious as to what Allocai, as his character in the video, is thinking.
What is so striking about this video is, surprisingly, not just the dynamic and evocative visuals, but the way that it is able to encapsulate the song and the lyrics that root it.
To watch the Bad for Me music video:
Music videos are a dynamic and important part of not only the music industry, but the artist and their ability to convey their music’s sound, aesthetic, and message. Despite shifting dynamics in the way that music videos are consumed, artists are still creating innovative videos that engage and enthrall their fans. Allocai, with Bad for Me, has been able to capture the hypnotic and energetic nature of the song’s sound, but also root the message and narrative of the song into the visuals. This, as a part of his album Black Silver, stands out as an emblematic piece of art.